Installing Edging/Borders

yardenman(z7 MD)June 17, 2007

I've always had a hard time with edging/borders. The instructions always say to cut a slot with a spade and tap the edging in. That newver works.

This past week, I installed edging along both sides of a path I was renovating and around a new hosta bed. It may be obvious, but I want to share what I learned.

Digging a slot in the ground is hard. But getting edging into that slot is harder. I tried my old standard way at first and then gave up to think about it more.

I wanted the edging to stay upright of course, but I also wanted it at a decent depth. I also wanted the height to be uniform. Obviously, digging a whole trench would be the most certain way, but I found another that worked:

I dug the edging line with my spade, which was oddly difficult. It was harder to pull the spade out that it was to drive it in. But when I had the whole line cut with the spade, I decided to dig a 45 degree angle cut about 4 inches away. After I did that, it was easy to pop the cut soil up with the spade (I tried a rake and then a mattock, but those didn't work very well).

I wanted a 1" reveal on the edging, so I used a 12" long piece of wood that I planed to a real 1". That allowed me to use it as a guage to hold the edging the correct height as I back filled with the removed soil.

I went along the edging placed in the "V" trench and pushed soil under it where needed to support the height and then walked carefully along both sides to tamp the soil in place.

Wow! What a difference from the attempts of past years!

I laid down a cut landscape fabric to fit the path and set my steppingstones in place. Then I spread pea gravel over it and spread it out evenly to match the stepping stone height.

The other edging was around the 40' x 8' hosta garden. It took 2 days, but I got a very straight and upright edging just high enough for the amount of mulch the hostas will enjoy.

For what it is worth, I seemed to get a straighter edge turning the spade backwards (front side toward me).

I'm exhausted but greatly pleased! It sure worked better this way than the older edgings I've put in pounded it a slot.

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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

How do you mow to the edging? Or do you have to use a trimmer every time you mow?
I like brick edging, set flush...or nearly flush. The grass crawls through, but I dab some round up in the cracks between the brinck once a year.
And If I change my mind and want the curve a little wider here or there...it's very easy to pop up a brick and move it.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 11:08PM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

The new edging around the hosta bed is set an inch lower than my mower blade, so I can set the wheels just over the inside edge. The edging on the path is set between the pea gravel path and the plants, so I don't have to mow that.

I didn't get the older edging set down as low, so I had to set a border of wall rock at ground-level on the lawn side as a mowing strip. That was an adventure in hard work. LOL!

I am beginning to wish I had used bricks and morter but that seemed too formal for my flowerbeds. The wall stones seemed like a good idea, and they look right, but fitting them tightly together was very hard.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 1:04AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I've had all sorts of edgings over the 35 years in this house...there was that awful aluminum stuff when we moved in...to hold the white rocks in place!...ripped that out! But found a piece buried in a bed just last spring....cut my hand on it too!
I did plastic...the kind you hammer into the ground? yeah! Right! Ripped that out after a couple of years trimming around it.
Then spent lots of years with just spade edged beds. Liked that look best...but it was a lot of work.
Now I mostly have my beds edged in brick.....or spade edged. It's nor so much work to keep a shady bed nicely spade edged.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:42PM
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